Objectives: To determine the proportion of adult medical patients who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), using the Global initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease guidelines (GOLD), and its relation to vascular disease.
Methods: This is a prospective cross-sectional study of adult patients admitted to acute medical wards. Interviewer administered questionnaire, anthropometric and spirometric measurements were done.
Results: Spirometry was performed in 720 acute admissions [Mean (SD) age 50.0 (18.9) years, FEV1:1.98L (0.83), FEV1/FVC %: 75.1 (11.9)%; males 332 (46.1%), smokers 318 (44%); 43.2% had vascular disease]. Sixty-seven per cent of patients (480) had no airway disease including 35 (4.5%) with chronic cough and sputum with normal spirometry; 89 (12.4%) had asthma and 151 (20.9%) had COPD. Patients with COPD were significantly older [60.3 (16.6) years] than non-COPD patients [47.3 (18.5) years], p < 0.001 and had a greater number of pack years of smoking. A greater percentage of patients with COPD had vascular disease (52%) than the non-COPD patients (40.1%), p = 0.017). Multivariate analysis with vascular disease as outcome variable revealed relationships with older age (p < 0.001) and Indo-Trinidadian ethnicity (p = 0.015), but not with gender (p = 0.321) and smoking (p = 0.442). FEV1% as well as FEV1 showed a significant inverse relationship with vascular disease (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: The prevalence of COPD using GOLD guidelines in acute hospital admissions is 20.9%; 11.7% of admissions have chronic sputum or cough with normal spirometry. Vascular disease is more prevalent in those with COPD. Patients admitted to acute medical care with vascular disease may also have COPD.